21 Things

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QUOTE: ROUTINE IS MADE FOR MAN, THE MAN WAS NOT MADE FOR ROUTINE. YOU ARE LORD OVER YOUR ROUTINE. -Natasha Cherry

We live in a crazy, fast-paced world. If you dont have a daily routine and are trying to figure out where to start. A great place to start is the first hour and the last hour of the day. What I call the first and last. Time seems to disappear on us faster than it did for our parents’ generation. Given how it seems like we hardly have enough time to do the things that NEED to be done, most people think it would be impossible to set aside even more time to create a routine that will help them accomplish more throughout their day.

However, there is a solution: instead of thinking about the entire day, start by creating a routine for the first and last hour. Developing routines for just these two hours will give you a sense of accomplishment, and it can lead you to creating a schedule for the rest of your day in no time. With that in mind, some people might still not know where to start, so here are a few tips on how to begin developing a regular, consistent routine.

 Young Americans are moving away from traditional religious observance in large numbers, and Jews are no exception. Roughly a third of Jews born after 1980 think of their Judaism as a matter of identity or ancestry, rather than as a religion, according to Pew. But even the young Jews who gravitate toward Orthodoxy, rather than away from it, are still making individual choices about their beliefs and practices, picking among rituals and crafting lifestyles that fit their environments. And rules and rituals seem to have appeal.

Some Christians and Jewish who are rejecting religion have seen the benefits on the rituals and are including them into their routine. But, young Americans might be leaving religion in large numbers, but for some, rules, ritual, and tradition are attractive ways to find meaning in daily life.  Landau said she likes how kashrut guides her in the grocery store, for example, and provides a meal-to-meal template for how to move through the day. Jewish law creates limitations, but “I choose the obligation,” said Klapholz, who said she became a baalat teshuva while living abroad in China. “I find meaning within the practice of Shabbat and not touching my phone. It’s 25 hours, and 25 hours where the world just ceases to exist; its prayer, and family, and friends.”  Rules can also create their own sense of identity: They’re a steady flow of ritual speed bumps that remind observant Jews of who they are. While this article is to cover routines, the next topic we will cover are rituals so as you create your daily routine, you might want to start with a simple routine and then like a cake add rituals that make your life convenient.

Here are a few simple things you could add into your day without much fuss. Whether you add them to the first or last hour is up to you. Since most people have a lot of rushing around to do in the morning (getting ready for work, getting kids ready for school, etc.), they may prefer to add more items at the end instead of the beginning. However, it is important to keep a balance. Stack too many things during the first or last hour, and you run the risk of feeling overwhelmed and accomplishing nothing.

1.PRAYER OR MEDITATION:

Many people think of doing this at night before bed, but there is no reason why you could not start the day with it. The content of your prayers is up to you of course. If you have an important meeting that day or a job interview, then you could pray that it goes well. Maybe you just want to pray to show thanks for all you have.

2.JOURNALING:

Write about a dream you had, a memory, something cute you saw your children do, or some random thought or feeling you had about something that happened to you.

3.PRIORITIZING FOR THE NEXT DAY:

You might think this would be done at the end of the day like prayers, but you don’t have to be that rigid about it. In fact, if you think of something you have to do tomorrow in the middle of the day, then you should write it down immediately. Don’t ever depend on yourself to remember it later! Carry around a small notebook and a pen in your pocket so you can jot down anything you think of throughout the day.

4.READING WISDOM:

Take ten minutes a day to read a self-improvement book. Not only can it help you build self-confidence, but reading and understanding new information can help exercise your mind and develop good brain fitness, which can then lead to even further developments in your self-esteem.

5, AFFIRMATIONS:

After a time we don’t garner our words. We allow ourselves to think and say negative things about our situations. Affirmations are a way to fight that impulse. Instead, you could condition yourself to always say something positive. Repeat that positive affirmation until you believe them. Affirmation is positive sayings that we are supposed to say to ourselves throughout the day. The idea is that, with enough repetitions, we will begin to believe it. You could say things like, “I will ace this interview” or, “My presentation will go off without a hitch.” If you want to say things like this to yourself throughout the day, then you are certainly welcome to think outside our “first and last hour” time frame. After all, it doesn’t take much time to say something positive to yourself!

6. MORAL STORIES:

If you employ this activity, then make sure you pick one that focuses on something positive. Research published in Psychological Science showed that a story that praises a character’s honesty is more effective at getting young children to tell the truth than a story that emphasizes the repercussions of lying.

7. SHED POUNDS, STRETCH or WALK:

Create an exercise routine can help you lose weight. In America this seems to take a lot of effort but while in Korea, I added a popular ritual that even the young generation participated in and that was walking as a family after dinner. In Korea, we walked around a lake several times before going home to do our nightly routine. Do your research carefully on this, as there is a lot of conflicting information. When in doubt, talk to your primary care doctor before beginning any exercise program. Also, they don’t need to be long; you can even do just ten minutes per day!

8. SAVING MONEY:

Create a routine that includes 10% for tithe, an education plan, or even starting a IRA. When your children start working, they can contribute a small portion of their income to this fund as well. Parents want help teaching their children money management skills. Parents just aren’t comfortable with this subject (after all, how much do they really know themselves?). Surveys reveal they are more comfortable talking about bullying, drugs and smoking than finances or investing. But, Parents really liked an account feature which awarded students $5 for each “A” grade they got on their report card.  But to turn your kids accounts into profitable tools for acquisition and retention, all you have to do is shift your perspective

9.BRAIN STORMING:

James Altucher, an author and entrepreneur, has a daily ritual of writing down ten ideas. This list is not necessarily focused on one topic or project; he just writes down whatever 10 ideas pop into his mind. It could be topics for a science fiction book or ten new recipe ideas. The point is to flex your ideas muscle, not to write about anything specific. Let your ideas flow out and don’t censor yourself.

10. NO TV/COMPUTER BEFORE BED or ONE DAY A WEEK:

Young Americans might be leaving religion in large numbers, but for some, rules, ritual, and tradition are attractive ways to find meaning in daily life. Turn off the TV or put away laptops at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Taking away these distractions truly gives your mind the chance to unwind.  Likewise having a full day of NO technology might allow your kids to get back on track. Remember this is your schedule. For many families, this is observed by having boardgame night.

11. MAKE SOCIAL CONNECTIONS:

Church, Synagogue, or activities at your Community center or you can even walk around your neighborhood and say hello if you see someone outside watering their lawn or sitting on their porch. Take a walk down to the local convenience store and talk to some of the regular customers.

12.TRY A NEW HEALTHY DRINK/DISH:

We make our way through this world only once. Why not try as many new things as you can?

13: TRACK YOUR STEPS:

Things you can write in your daily journal. Think back over your day. What did you do? When did you do it? Why did you do things in that order? If these are activities that you do several times per week, is there a more effective order in which you can get them done?

14.WATCH/LISTEN SOMETHING INSPIRATIONAL:

You don’t even necessarily need to hear a message you agree with to be inspired. If someone tells you to do option A, that might sound like utter nonsense to you, and it inspires you to choose option B!

15.MAKE YOUR BED:

The wisdom of this simple act has been proven to me many times over. If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished your first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another and another. And by the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. This might sound like an odd suggestion, but since making your bed is such a simple task, it gives you an opportunity to clear your mind. While you make it, you get to “zone out” and decompress. It’s almost like meditation in motion!

16. BREATHING:

This is a great way to teach children to control their anger by simply stopping everything. There is a focus on breathing in meditation, so it might seem odd to list this separately. However, with meditation you are usually making a conscious effort to either focus on one thing or to clear your mind entirely. Here, you are focusing on your breathing ONLY.

17: DOING KINDNESS:

Help your child do something inspired by his love for humanity. Help your child through a difficult homework problem. Take time to help an old lady cross the street. You get the idea on what kindness entails. 

18.DOING GOOD:

Have your child do something that is inspired by their love for God.At first glance you might think this is the same as item #17. The difference between doing kindness and doing good is that good is Godly. I teach that them that leaving the corners of your field is a law that we will obey. So, 10% goes into the piggy bank and when there is enough money the kids get to donate to the organization of their choice. Usually, an organization that helps sick kids but the choice is complete theirs and they must AGREE on where the money will go which is a problem-solving session that I love to see.

19: BLESSING YOUR DAY:

Instead of focusing on the negative, end your day by thinking back on the GOOD things that happen. In time, you will notice this simple action goes a long way toward changing your overall mood and mentality.In many religions, you bless the children. Some bless the children on Sabbath, some offer their blessing when they leave the house in the morning to protect them throughout their day. The daily blessing is different from the blessing to pass on your knowledge to your child something that Jacob in the bible did for his sons. Your blessing can be given as often or a little as you see fit. However, many children feel protected by their parents blessing in the morning or before they go to bed. An example of a protection prayer can be taught to your kids. My house we changed Deuteronomy Chapter 28; I have about 5 versions of this that the kids can choose from. My oldest has memorized her favorite version and say it.

20: LEARN SOMETHING NEW:

Not only does gaining new knowledge make life more interesting, but it also gives your brain a chance to “exercise.” Expand your child’s mind, set a good example for your children and help them gain some power in their lives. That power can help them overcome boredom, cultivate great conversation and positively impact the life of another human being.

21.CHORES:

Growing up with a healthy habit of doing chores at home is quite important. In Lebanon, children are rarely expected to help in the household. However, as research has shown,  completing chores around the house helps build a child’s character and prepares them better for adulthood (Lythcott-Haims ,2016) Example of bedtime chores in my house is cleaning the bathroom after everyone has taken their bath. I divide the chores; Clean the bathtub, make sure all the clothes is in the hamper and the floor is clean, and clean the counter.

Let’s focus on item #5 from our list. Affirmations have been around for a long time. In fact, they made an appearance in the Bible. For example, this quote can be found in Matthew 9:12, “If I can but touch the hem of his garment.” The priest represents all humans striving to reach God, while His garment is symbolic of the rituals designed to bring us closer to reaching our desired results.

Most people know that religions have many rituals), although they might not be as familiar with what each one means. In Shabbat school the laws the govern our day to day live was called Mitzvahs, and there is a Mitzvah for almost every detail of your life, but most people choose what Mitzvahs they believe are essential to follow in their day to day lives. Here is a sample of the Mitzvahs for the morning routine.

LAWS OF THE MORNING ROUTINE

  • Rising in the Morning
  • Washing the Hands in the Morning
  • Dressing and Walking
  • Decency in the Lavatory
  • Cleanliness for Prayer or Torah Study
  • Benedictions
  • Morning Benedictions

While we will not be extensively covering religious rituals that you want to pass down to your children, you will definitely want to include them in your routine. However, when rituals are symbolic, make sure your children understanding what it symbolizes. You can include as little or as much as you want. Laws and customs concerning daily activities such as dressing and eating, and special events such as visiting the sick, moving to a new home, etc.

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